S. Stefano hill, Yellow path “The Medieval Village”

  • Italiano

The junction point between the red route (Madonnella) and the yellow one is at the top of the first level of the hill (550 mlm), where an entrance gate to the pre-Roman city was probably located, along the circuit of the cyclopean walls.

We like to imagine that from here the Acer Atinas (the Fortissimo Atina, mentioned twice in Virgil’s Aeneid, perhaps more a people than a single warrior), ally of Turn, King of Rutuli and of Camilla, Queen of the Volsci – the enemy enemy of Aeneas and his Etruscan allies, he observes the arrival of enemies from the north, through the pass today in the territory of Vicalvi or from the east, through the pass of Forca D’Acero, or from the south, through the pass of Cardito.

This, in fact, is the best place to dominate the ancient foothill road traveled by the ancient pre-Roman peoples that connected Etruria to Campania, passing through Molise and its branch, via the Capodichino pass, towards the Cassinate and the Tyrrhenian coast.

Here, in the bottom of the Comino Valley, a basin protected by the mountains of the Central Apennines, countless invading armies have passed over the millennia: from the Samnites, to the Romans, from the Visigoths to the Lombards, from the Normans to the Swabians, from the Spanish to the French, finally (perhaps) to the Nazis and Anglo-American liberators.

But now, let’s just jump a couple of millennia. Entering through the door of the Acer Atinas, we passed from protohistory to the Middle Ages. Here, spread over a small plateau of fifteen hectares, are the few remains of the village built under the fortress raised by the Aquinas at the end of the first millennium A.D

After the raids and the destruction by the barbarians (Atina was destroyed in 412 AD by the Visigoths of Alaric and in 580 AD by the Lombards of the Duke Zotone of Benevento), the Atinati, with the help of the Abruzzese of Penne and Forcone (so recites the ‘Ancient Chronicle’), tried to revive the old city.

According to Toubert, the greatest scholar of the phenomenon of the castle, the ancient polygonal walls offered an excellent refuge to the people who fled the plains and the unprotected hills and, therefore, probably the same path was followed by the Atinati who, in addition, intended to include from the Rocca.

The village that was born and developed between the VIII and XIV centuries, until the terrible earthquake of 1349, which also destroyed Montecassino, it had a considerable community of around a thousand individuals and had the use of 3 churches.

The ruins of that of Santo Stefano are still visible in a northerly direction. Tales until a few decades ago told that the ghost of a woman, called the White Lady, wanders the night among these ruins.

Continuing along the path marked by the yellow color, you first meet the clay pigeon shooting field built in the 1950’s and then, going down towards the Colonia and the fir trees the artefact purchased in 1931, according to the style of the era.”

Orazio Paolo Riccardi

English translation by Louise Shapcott

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